Burlingame Rotary Club
Founded in 1925

High Gear Bulletin


Zoom Meeting - Wednesday, August 19, 2020

High Gear Editor:  Guy Smiley

Meeting SummarY

The meeting started at 12:15.
Marc Friedman led 35 participants in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Bob Doerr gave the invocation—a three-line poem by a Bengali Brahmin from Calcutta, Rabindranath Tagore (Ro bin’dri nat Tea gor), who began writing poetry at the age of 10. He was awarded the 1913 Nobel Prize for Literature at the age of 52.
Guests of the Club 
Carole Groom, San Mateo County Supervisor, and our speaker
Chris Mount-Benites, Burlingame School District superintendent
Alden Cunningham, visiting Rotarian
Courtney Wu, Rotary Exchange Student
Vani Suresh, Rotary Exchange Student
Change to Regular Lunch Schedule
In lieu of a newscast, this week we were treated to trip reports from our two Rotary Exchange Students. Due to speakers’ time constraints, announcements were held until the end of the meeting.
Rotary Student Exchange Report
Marc Friedman reminded us that we sponsored two students for last year’s Rotary Student Exchange program. They were selected from Design Tech (D-Tech), one of the high schools in the San Mateo Unified High School District (SMUHSD). Marc introduced the two students then asked them to give us a review of their experiences.
Our Italian exchange student, Courtney Sullivan Wu, who went to Sicily for her exchange year, started. She stayed with one family the whole time. The host father owned a villa and farming property. The host mom had s women’s clothing boutique. Courtney enjoyed getting a view into two different kinds of work that she hadn’t been exposed to before. The host sister turned 12 when she was there. She said that she was really, really blessed to have this experience. Even though COVID came and hit Italy hard, she would do it again. Courtney said that she had many valuable experiences. According to her, one of the biggest, most different things in Italy is the high school system. Instead of going from class to class, the students stay in the same classroom, and the teachers rotate. Because they stay together in the same room, kids have a different relationship with the students in their class. Courtney was quickly integrated into the group. She was invited to birthday parties and included in other gatherings. Two students took her under their wings, and they became close friends. She says that she was very fortunate to be in class with that group. They were all very friendly, continuously invited her to do things, and wanting her to be their friend. Because of this, Courtney said that she didn’t have to struggle the way that other exchange students did. In addition to host family and school activities, Rotary organized a great tour of Italy for Rotary Exchange students. Courtney said that it was absolutely amazing and fun to be with other Rotary Exchange students. She stayed in Italy until mid-May when she was able to get a flight back home. Despite some unfortunate events, Courtney said that the experience was amazing and a great learning experience. 
Next, we heard from Vani Suresh, who did her exchange year in Hiroshima, Japan. She started by noting that most people know Hiroshima from the atomic bomb. She told us about the Hiroshima Peace Park in central Hiroshima with the atomic bomb dome and other structures that have been preserved to show the impact of the bomb. With all challenges of the year, Vani said that she really, really enjoyed the experience of her host family, friends, and school. When she arrived, there was a big welcome party with the host family and members of the Hiroshima Rotary Club—dinner and a fun time. The two host sisters were in college and not home often. Vani said that she was lucky to have a good, close group of friends. She explained that, as in Italy, students stay in the same room and take all classes group of students. Vani told us that her school had a festival where each class hosts a booth. Her class served food. For Vani, school was one of the most different things. She said that it is very strict. Students wear uniforms and can’t pierce their ears. To her, it seemed that there was very limited individuality. Vani told us that she had 13 subjects taught in Japanese. It took about three months to pick up the language, but after that, she was able to get along well in Japanese. She explained that her English class helped her learn Japanese, because it was done in English and Japanese. Vani observed that although the Japanese students were taught English from third grade on and all of her friends knew English, no one would speak English, because nervous about getting things wrong and mispronouncing. She told us that she joined the tennis team. She also told us that she went on a Rotary trip with other Rotary Exchange students to a historic town. And, she attended Rotary meetings once a month. Vani said that the Rotary meetings were very formal and super upscale. They had lots of rules for meetings and formalities that extended to exchange students on the trip. Vani told us that she was able to experience a number of cultural events and had a great variety of experiences. Vani said that she is very grateful for the experience and thanked us for giving her the opportunity.
Nancy Bush introduced Carole Groom, our speaker.
Carole Groom was elected to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors in June 2010 to represent District Two, served as President of the Board in 2011 and 2015. Prior to Supervisor Groom’s appointment in 2009, she served nine years on the San Mateo City Council, including two terms as Mayor, and on the San Mateo Planning and Public Works Commissions. Supervisor Groom’s legislative priorities include expanded access to quality preschool and literacy, improved access to healthcare for all, environmental protection, preservation of County’s parks, and growing the local economy.
Carole serves on Sam Trans, the County Hospital Board, Air Quality District, and California Coastal Commission. Before joining the Board of Supervisors, Carole served as Vice President of Mills-Peninsula Health Services.
Supervisor Groom began with an update on the Pescadero fire—currently covers 10,000 acres with 1,000 people and 5000 animals evacuated. They’re getting people out and into hotels. They don’t know how many structures have been lost. Because there are so many other fires, San Mateo firefighters are getting no help from outside. One of the firefighters said, “we haven’t had a fire like this, in San Mateo County, since 1914.”
Supervisor Groom moved on to the program topic—the census. She said that the census is the number one priority for San Mateo County. Every 10 years, the U.S. does the census. This count determines funds for healthcare, open space, ports, coast, and more. It also determines funding for schools, parks, hospitals open. Funding is based on population.
Since the last census, San Mateo County has set up the office of community affairs to ensure maximum participation in the census. There are three people working full time on this. The census now ends in September instead of next year. County officials are very disappointed about this. The goal in San Mateo County is to have 80% completion of census surveys. Currently, we are at 74% completion. Burlingame is at 74.9% completion. You can complete the census online here or reach out to County for additional information here.
One of the things that has worried people across the U.S. was the inclusion of a sentence about being a U.S. citizen. Many felt that with that question, many wouldn’t participate. A lot of work was done at the local, state, and federal legislative level to keep that off the census—everyone needs to be counted whether they are registered citizen or not. If, as a household, you didn’t’ respond to the reminder to complete the census, you will be contacted. The County has a team of people working across the community—engaging other organizations, such as league of women voters, service clubs, and PTAs to reach the more than 780,000 people in San Mateo County. However, the uncounted could be up to 20,000. The unsheltered number about 5,000. sheltered (e.g., LifeMoves and Samaritan Souse) encourage people to fill out the census.
A few things are impacting census participation. COVID-19 impacted door-to-door outreach. In lieu of that, they have been doing calls. There have also been privacy concerns. Rest assured, any information provided on the census form is confidential. Our congressional delegation makes sure that confidentiality is maintained. However, anonymized census data is available. U.S. census data provides a wealth of information for research.
San Mateo County officials felt our community was undercounted 10 years ago. They don’t want to have to give up services that are supported by federal dollars. Over $675 state and local comes from the federal government. With an undercount, the County could lose up to $1,000 per person that doesn’t fill out the census form.
Commissioner Groom also gave a quick update on San Mateo County’s COVID-19 response. It’s hard to track the actual numbers of cases. The County spends the most time on prevention. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Don’t have big gatherings (10 people or more). The worst thing to do is to have large, close gatherings. This is where breakouts are happening. Be careful. Watch where you’re going. The best way to prevent this is to stick to small groups and protect yourself. A lot of us want to go to Giants and Warriors games, but we need to stay home. The County has made a lot of shifts in work—changed hours and work at home. It’s a dangerous time and situation. The difficulty of schools is how to handle education. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow are the first day for many schools. Nancy Magee is working with school districts to be sure there is a safe way to handle education.
Hospitals have space in ICUs and regular beds. They had a number of gentlemen from San Quentin at Seton, but they’ve all moved from there. Not only are our hospitals available, but they’re also safe. Our doctors know how to get potential sick people isolated.
The County has started contact tracing, but it’s harder than they thought. People don’t’ want to give information. A team of volunteers has been assembled by the health department to call people and ask where they were and who they were with most recently.
They listen carefully to Dr. Faucci. He believes we’ll have a vaccine by spring.
Blood banks are reporting shortages, so Rotary D5150 and the S. San Francisco Sister Cities Association are sponsoring a blood drive on September 10 in South San Francisco. See the end of High Gear for more information.
ShelterBox update was shared by Bob Doerr, ShelterBox Ambassador. People have been asking Bob about what’s happening in Beirut with ShelterBox. He explained that the ShelterBox team is monitoring the situation. ShelterBox has not been invited in, but is prepared to as the need arises. More information about what ShelterBox is doing in Beirut is here.
Several social events were announced. Happy hour will be on Friday at 5—check email for Zoom info.
A four-part Car Talk series will kick off on Tuesday at 7pm with Bob Doerr leading a discussion about Mercedes. Again, see email for Zoom info.
Nancy Bush announced a special happy hour next week featuring John Jeide, Irish coffee expert from the Buena Vista Café in San Francisco—see email for details and Zoom info.
And, Charles Voltz reminded us about Fun with Fountain pens. Coming in September. Check the website for more info. Think fountain pens disappeared in the 1950s, replaced by the ballpoint pen? Think again! Fountain pens are alive, well, and in use around the world. Wait, you’ve never given a thought to fountain pens? No problem! Join San Francisco Pen Posse member, our very own Charles Voltz, for Fountain Pen Fun.
A summary of upcoming events can be found on our website.
Sunshine Report—Jim Shypertt said he had nothing to report this week.
Emily thanked everyone for joining, and the meeting was adjourned with a ring of the bell at 1:23.
Meeting Recording Info
Access a recording of the meeting, including the pre-meeting banter here:
Blood Drive Info
Rotary D5150 and the S. San Francisco Sister Cities Association are sponsoring a blood drive—we are asking you to share this information with your individual Clubs, your friends, your neighbors, families, any and all organizations about this drive.  This is a great way to put our networking to use and to help during this critical time—when blood is short everywhere.
Vitalant (formerly Blood Bank of the Pacific) needs our help—and we can step up with Service Above Self.
WHEN:                 September 10, 2020
WHERE:               S. San Francisco Community Center
                   33 Arroyo Drive, S. San Francisco, 94080
HOURS:                10AM to 3PM
Blood donations by appointment only. Sign up here.
Aug 26, 2020 12:15 PM
Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership | Distinguished Teaching Fellow
Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership | Distinguished Teaching Fellow

Kellie McElhaney is on the Berkeley Haas faculty as a Distinguished Teaching Fellow and the Founding Director of the Center for Equity, Gender and Leadership (EGAL).

Launched in November 2017, EGAL’s mission is to educate equity fluent leaders to ignite and accelerate change. Equity fluent leaders understand the value of different lived experiences and courageously use their power to address barriers, increase access, and drive change for positive impact. McElhaney helped develop the equity fluent leadership concept and teaches it across the country and around the world.

In 2003, McElhaney founded the Center for Responsible Business, solidifying corporate responsibility as a core competency and competitive advantage for the Haas School. Haas was rated #1 in the world for corporate responsibility by The Financial Times. She received the Founder and Visionary Award at Haas in 2013 for this work.

McElhaney wrote a book entitled “Just Good Business: The Strategic Guide to Aligning Corporate Responsibility and Brand.” She writes case studies of companies who are investing in women and equity-fluent leadership (Wal-Mart, Gap, Inc., Boston Consulting Group, Zendesk), and conducts research in the area of equal, pay, conscious inclusion, equity fluent leadership, and value-creating strategies of diversity and inclusion.

McElhaney consults and keynotes for Global 1000 companies and organizations all over the world on her areas of expertise, and has a TED talk. She is the mother of two incredibly strong teenage daughters.

Sep 02, 2020 12:15 PM
UA Local 467 Plumbers, Pipefitters & HVACR Service Technicians
Sep 09, 2020
No Speaker
Sep 16, 2020 12:15 PM
SM County Historical Association
Sep 23, 2020 12:15 PM
The Civil Grand Jury
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